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Secondhand America: Charleston Antique Mall

America's wealth of secondhand stores is not exactly a secret, but it it can be pretty intimidating in its vastness. Follow our writer as she tip-toes through junk, browses the shelves of antique malls and bargains with vintage brokers, reporting back on just what makes our resale shops so damn good.

Dragging yourself away from The Strip during a trip to Las Vegas is no easy feat—between the countless buffets, luxury stores and 24-hour gambling excitement, it can be hard to escape. But if all that awesomeness ends up being just a little too much fun for you, know that there's a great secondhand diversion just a few miles away. The Charleston Antique Mall is a quiet, vintage-focused solace from the glitter and noise of the Strip.

Located in another kind of strip—a nondescript strip mall—the Charleston Antique Mall is everything you want in a secondhand emporium: tons of uniquely themed shops, or "booths," stocked with affordable finds.

There are plenty of old-timey Las Vegas artifacts to score, including old Sam's Town casino matchboxes for $2 and vintage gamblin' chips for $2 or $3. But this isn't merely an old-Las-Vegas hub. You can also nab pretty under-$10 jewels from dozens of sellers, a Vogue mirror for $25, and ornate wall sconces for $35. Even when things get a little pricier, they're still rather reasonable. Oh, and there's plenty of weirdo, out-there stuff, like the life-size Han Solo cardboard cut-out, a DIYed sequin dial phone, and stripper heels with gambling paraphernalia within the clear platforms. We also spotted a bearskin rug, a Dior shoulder bag, and weird-cool vintage cat books.

Be sure to save some energy for the Mall's crown jewel: an expansive clothes shop. The themed booths are an utter delight—what with early-Americana and its ilk represented—but the clothing section is what every Lucky gal will rush toward. Your patience here will be rewarded with racks upon racks of excellent-quality vintage wares, lovingly separated by type and size. The wall is lined with dresses and voluminous coats, and under every rack is a row of superb vintage shoes. Punctuating the clothing, of course, is every type of accessory: purses and belts and hats galore. Ornate and costume-y fabrics rule here, which means a unique piece (quilted night-jacket, fuzzy ivory cape) is not too far away.

So when you win a small fortune at the casinos, head to Charleston Antique Mall first, Crystals second.

Freelance writer Alison Baitz (who has also written for Bust and Refinery29 among others) is so excited that she got to visit thrift stores and antique malls as part of her job.

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